NEW METHODOLOGICAL TRENDS IN ENGLISH LEARNING Introduction to Methodological Trends of Teaching and Learning Donald Stewart, M.Sc. Lecturer
ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGEEnglish is increasingly being used as a tool for interactionamong nonnative speakers. Over one half of the one billionEnglish speakers of the world have learned English as asecond or foreign language (now 3 to 1- David Crystal). By2010, 2 billion people will be studying English, and abouthalf the world, 3 billion people, will speak it. In comparison,Mandarin has only some 40 million non-native speakerstoday. Most English language teachers across the globe arenonnative English speakers, which means the norm isbilingualism, and not monolingualism.English has become a tool for international communicationin transportation, commerce, banking, tourism, technology,diplomacy, and scientific research. 80% of electronicallystored information is in English. 66% of world´s scientistsread in English. Lingua franca in world banking= English!
APPROACH, METHOD AND TECHNIQUE From the mid-1880s to the mid-1980s, the language teaching profession was involved in a search for “methods” or one method that could successfully teach students a foreign language in the classroom. What is a method? Edward Anthony (1963) said there were three hierarchical elements, approach, method and technique. Approach: a set of assumptions dealing with the nature of language, learning, and teaching. Method: an overall plan for systematic presentation of language based on a selected approach. Techniques: specific activities shown in the classroom consistent with a method and in harmony with an approach.
For example: At the approach level, a teacher could emphasize the importance of learning in a relaxed state of mind just above the threshold of consciousness. The method could resemble Suggestopedia. Techniques could include playing baroque music while reading a passage in the foreign language. However, now, thanks to Richards and Rodgers (1982,1986), Anthony´s proposal has been renamed to approach, design, and procedure. They have called this three-step process a method, “an umbrella term for the specification and interrelation of theory and practice” (1982).
An approach defines assumptions, beliefs, and theories about the nature of language and language learning. Designs specify the relationship of those theories to classroom materials and activities. Procedures are the techniques and practices derived from one´s approach and design. Today, the concept of separate methods is no longer a main issue in language-teaching practice. Instead, we refer to “methodology” as the umbrella term, reserving the term “method” for more specific clusters of compatible classroom techniques.
CURRENT DEFINITIONS Methodology: Pedagogical practices in general. Whatever considerations are involved in “how to teach” are methodological. Approach: Theoretically well-informed positions and beliefs about the nature of language, the nature of language learning, and the applicability of both to pedagogical settings. Method: A generalized set of classroom specifications for accomplishing linguistic objectives. Methods tend to be concerned mainly with teacher and student roles and behaviors and secondarily with such features as linguistic and subject-matter objectives, sequencing, and materials.
Curriculum/syllabus: Designs for carrying out a particular language program. Features include a primary concern with the specification of linguistic and subject- matter objectives, sequencing, and materials to meet the needs of a designated group of learners in a defined context. (Syllabus = UK; Curriculum = USA) Technique: Any of a wide variety of exercises, activities, or tasks used in the language classroom for realizing lesson objectives.
CHANGING WINDS AND SIFTING SANDS Albert Marckwardt (1972) saw “changing winds and sifting sands” in the cyclical pattern in which a new method emerged about every quarter of a century. Each new method broke from the old but took with it some of the positive aspects of previous practices. A good example of this cyclical nature of methods is found in the “revolutionary” Audiolingual Method (ALM) of the mid-twentieth century. The ALM borrowed aspects from its predecessor, the Direct Method, by almost half a century while breaking away entirely from the Grammar Translation method. However, soon ALM critics were supporting more attention to thinking, cognition, and rule-learning, which some people thought was a return to Grammar Translation!
THE GRAMMAR TRANSLATION METHOD For centuries, there were few theoretical foundations of language learning on which to base teaching methodology. In the Western world, “foreign” language learning in schools was synonymous with the learning of Latin and Greek. Latin was thought to promote intellectuality through “mental gymnastics”, and was held to be indispensable to an adequate higher education. Latin was taught by what was called the Classical Method, with a focus on grammatical rules, memorization of vocabulary and conjugations, text translations, and doing written exercises.
With the teaching of other languages in educational institutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Classical Method was adopted as the chief means for teaching foreign languages. Little thought was given to teaching someone how to speak the language. Languages were not being taught primarily to learn oral/aural communication, but to learn for the sake of being “scholarly” or for gaining a reading proficiency in a foreign language. As there was little theoretical research on second language adquisition, or on the acquisition of reading proficiency, foreign languages were taught as any other skill.
In the nineteenth century, the Classical Method became the Grammar Translation Method. Its main characteristics were:1. Classes are taught in the mother tongue, with little active use of the target language.2. Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words.3. Long, elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given.4. Grammar provides the rules for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words.5. Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early.
6. Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis.7. Often the only drills are exercises in translating disconnected sentences from the target language into the mother tongue.8. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation. Unfortunately, it is “remembered with distaste by thousands of school learners, for whom foreign language learning meant a tedious experience of memorizing endless lists of unusable grammar rules and vocabulary and attempting to produce perfect translations of stilted or literary prose” (Richards & Rodgers, 1986).
The reason why this method remains so popular is because it requires few specialized skills of teachers. Grammar rule tests and translations are easy to make and objectively scored. It is sometimes successful in leading a student to a reading knowledge of a second language. But, as Richards and Rodgers (1986) pointed out, “it has no advocates. It is a method for which there is no theory. Here is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it or that attempts to relate it to issues in linguistics, psychology, or educational theory.”
QUESTIONS ON THE GRAMMAR TRANSLATION METHOD1. Classes are taught in the…………………………, with little active use of the …………………………….2. ……….vocabulary is taught in the form of………of……words.3. …………,……………explanations of the ……………of………………. are given.4. Grammar provides the …………for putting…………together, and instruction often focuses on the………and……………of words.5. Reading of difficult …………texts is begun………….
6. Little attention is paid to the …………of texts, which are treated as …………….in……………………………..7. Often the only………..are exercises in ………………………………… sentences from the ……………………………..into the ……………………………….8. Little or no attention is given to……………………….DO THE QUIZ IN PAIRS, PLEASE!
GOUIN AND THE SERIES METHOD“Modern” foreign language teaching began in the late 1800s with Francois Gouin, a French teacher of Latin with remarkable insights, who published his book entitled The Art of Learning and Studying Foreign Languages, in 1880. Gouin went through a rather painful experience to learn German. He moved to Hamburg, Germany for one year in mid-life. Once there, he decided to “master” the language by memorizing a German grammar book and 248 irregular German verbs, instead of conversing with natives. He did this in only ten days and then hurried to the university to test his new knowledge. He wrote, “But alas! I could not understand a single word, not a single word!” (1880)
However, Gouin was undaunted. He returned to his isolated room, this time to memorize German roots and to rememorize the grammar book and irregular verbs. “But alas…”, the result was the same. During that year in Germany, he memorized books, translated Goethe and Schiller, and even memorized 30,000 words in a German dictionary, but failed to even understand German afterwards. He was a failure! After returning home, Gouin discovered that his three-year- old nephew had, during that year, gone through child language acquisition where he went from saying nothing at all to becoming a real chatterbox in French. So, Gouin started to observe his nephew and came to certain conclusions: language learning is mainly a matter of transforming perceptions into conceptions!
Children use language to represent their conceptions. Language is a means of thinking, of representing the world to oneself. These insights were then formed by a language teacher more than a century ago! So, Gouin began to devise a teaching method to follow these insights. The Series Method was created, a method that taught learners directly (without translation) and conceptually (without grammatical rules and explanations) a “series” of connected sentences that are easy to perceive. The first lesson of a foreign language would thus teach the following series of fifteen sentences:
I walk towards the door. I draw near to the door. I draw nearer to the door. I get to the door. I stop at the door. I stretch out my arm. I take hold of the handle. I turn the handle. I open the door. I pull the door. The door moves. The door turns on its hinges. The door turns and turns. I open the door wide. I let go of the handle.Here there were a large number of grammatical points,vocabulary items, word orders, and complexity.WHAT MORE MODERN METHOD DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF?
Gouin was successful with these lessons because the language was so easily understood, stored, recalled, and related to reality. He was a man ahead of his time, but unfortunately his insights were lost due to Berlitz´s popular Direct Method.1. Question on the SERIES METHOD: Explain the main ideas. Work in pairs.THE DIRECT METHOD The “naturalistic”- simulating the “natural” way in which children learn first languages- approaches of Gouin and some contemporaries did not take hold immediately. A generation later, applied linguistics finally established the credibility of such approaches. Thus, at the turn of the century, the Direct Method became widely known and practiced.
The basic premise of the Direct Method was similar to Gouin´s Series Method. Second language learning should be more like first language learning – lots of oral interaction, spontaneous use of the language, no translation between first and second languages, and little or no analysis of grammatical rules. The basic principles were:1. Classroom instruction was conducted exclusively in the target language.2. Only everyday vocabulary and sentences were taught.3. Oral communication skills were built up in a carefully traded progression organized around question-and- answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes.
4. Grammar was taught inductively.5. New teaching points were taught through modeling and practice.6. Concrete vocabulary was taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures; abstract vocabulary was taught by association of ideas.7. Both speech and listening comprehension were taught.8. Correct pronunciation and grammar were emphasized.
QUESTIONS ON THE DIRECT METHOD1. How many of the EIGHT main elements of the Direct Method can you remember? Classroom instruction? Vocabulary? Oral skills? Grammar? Pronunciation? Listening? NOW HOW WOULD YOU TEACH THIS METHOD FOR SOME EIGHT MINUTES?
The Direct Method was quite popular at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was widely accepted in private language schools with highly motivated students and native-speaking teachers. The best known populizer was Charles Berlitz, who never called it the Direct Method, and chose to call it the Berlitz Method. However, the Direct Method was not successful in public education, where there were budget constraints, large classrooms, and different teacher backgrounds. It was also criticized for its weak theoretical foundations.
By the end of the 1920s, use of the Direct Method had declined in Europe and the USA. Most language curricula returned to the Grammar Translation Method or to a “reading approach” emphasizing reading skills in foreign languages. However, by the 1950s, the Direct Method was revived and redirected into what was the most visible of all language teaching “revolutions” in the modern era, the Audiolingual Method.THE AUDIOLINGUAL METHOD In the first half of the twentieth century, the Direct Method took hold more in Europe than in the USA. It was not so easy to find native-speaking teachers of modern foreign languages in the USA, as opposed to Europe.
USA educational institutions became convinced that a reading approach to foreign languages was more useful than an oral approach, because of the perceived linguistic isolation of the USA at that time. The highly influential Coleman Report (Coleman, 1929) had persuaded foreign language teachers that it was impractical to teach oral skills and that reading was to be the focus. So, schools returned to Grammar Translation in the 1930s and 1940s. When World War II began, the USA was suddenly thrust into a worldwide conflict, increasing the need for Americans to become orally proficient in languages of both allies and enemies. The time had come for a language-teaching revolution. The US military provided the impetus in funding intensive language courses focusing on aural/oral skills.
These courses became known as the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) or the “Army Method.” Here there was a great deal of oral activity- pronunciation and pattern drills and conversation classes- with almost no grammar and translation found in traditional classes. Soon, the success of the Army Method and revived national interest in foreign languages stimulated educational institutions to adopt the new methodology. It came to be known in the 1950s as the Audiolingual Method. It was firmly grounded in linguistic and psychological theory. Structural linguists of the 1940s and 1950s got involved in what they claimed was a “scientific descriptive analysis” of various languages. Teaching methodologists saw a direct application of analysis to teaching linguistic patterns. (Fries, 1945)
As well, behavioristic psychologists advocated conditioning and habit-formation models of learning that were perfectly connected to mimicry drills and pattern practices of audiolingual methodology. Characteristics of the ALM included the following:1. New material is presented in dialogue form.2. There is dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases, and overlearning.3. Structures are sequenced by means of contrastive analysis and taught one at a time.4. Structural patterns are taught using repetitive drills.5. There is little or no grammatical explanation. Grammar is taught by inductive analogy rather than by deductive explanation.
6.Vocabulary is strictly limited and learned in context.7.There is much use of tapes, language labs, and visual aids.8.Great importance is attached to pronunciation.9.Very little use of the mother tongue by teachers is permitted.10. Successful responses are immediately reinforced.11. There is a great effort to get students to produce error- free utterances.12. There is a tendency to manipulate language and disregard content.
QUESTIONS ON THE AUDIOLINGUAL METHODHOW MANY OF THE TWELVE CHARACTERISTICS CANYOU REMEMBER?
ALM enjoyed many years of popularity, and even today, ALM adaptations are found in contemporary methodologies. Materials were carefully prepared, tested, and disseminated to educational institutions. “Success” could be overtly experienced by students as they practiced their dialogues in off-hours. However, challenged by Wilga River´s (1964) eloquent criticism of ALM misconceptions and its ultimate failure to teach long-term communicative proficiency, ALM´s popularity waned. We had discovered that language was not really acquired through a process of habit formation and overlearning, that errors were not necessarily to be avoided at all costs, and that structural linguists did not tell us everything about language that we needed to know.
COGNITIVE CODE LEARNINGAudiolingualism with its emphasis on surface forms androte practice of scientifically produced patterns, began todecrease when the Chomskyan revolution in linguisticsturned linguists and language teachers toward the “deepstructure” of language and the innateness of thefundamentals of grammar (LADs).Increasing interest in generative transformational grammarand focused attention on the rule-governed nature oflanguage and language acquisition led some language-teaching programs to promote a deductive approach ratherthan ALM inductivity.
Arguing that children subconsciously acquire a system ofrules, proponents of cognitive code learningmethodology (Carroll, 1966) began to inject moredeductive rule learning into language classes. In anamalgamation of Audiolingual and GrammarTranslation techniques, classes retained the drillingtypical of ALM, but added doses of rule explanations andreliance on grammatical sequencing of material.Cognitive code learning was not so much a method as itwas an approach that emphasized a conscious awarenessof rules and their applications to second language learning.
It was a reaction to the strictly behavioristic practices of theALM, and ironically, a return to some of the practices ofGrammar Translation. As teachers and materialsdevelopers saw that incessant parroting of potentially rotematerial was not creating communicatively proficientlearners, something new was needed, and cognitive codelearning appeared to do the trick.Unfortunately, this innovation was short-lived, for just asrote drilling bored students, overt cognitive attention tothe rules, paradigms, intricacies, and exceptions of alanguage overtaxed the mental reserves of languagestudents.
DESIGNER METHODS OF THE SPIRITED 1980sThe decade of the 1980s was historically significant for tworeasons: (1) research on second language learning andteaching grew from an offshoot of linguistics to a disciplinein its own right. (2) a number of innovative if notrevolutionary methods were conceived.The scrutiny that the designer methods underwent hasenabled us today to incorporate certain elements in ourcurrent communicative approaches to language teaching.There have been five products from the 1970s.
1. COMMUNITY LANGUAGE LEARNING:An affectively based method. In Charles Curran´s(1972) “Counseling-Learning” education model, inspiredby psychologist Carl Rogers, learners were regarded notas a “class” but as a “group”, a group in need of certaintherapy and counseling.For learning to occur, group members first had to interactin an interpersonal relationship where students andteacher joined together to facilitate learning in a contextof valuing each individual in the group.This Counseling-Learning model extended to contexts inthe Community Language Learning (CLL).
The group of clients (eg. English beginning learners),having first established in their native language (eg.Spanish) an interpersonal relationship and trust, wereseated in a circle with the counselor (teacher) on theoutside of the circle. When one of the clients wished to saysomething to the group or an individual, he said it back inthe native language (Spanish) and the counselor translatedthe utterance back to the learner in the second language(English). The learner then repeated that English sentenceas accurately as possible. Another client responded, inSpanish; the utterance was translated by the counselor intoEnglish; the client repeated it; and the conversationcontinued. If possible, the conversation was taped for laterlistening, and the learners inductively tried to obtaininformation about the new language.
Gradually, the learner was able to speak a word or phrasedirectly in the foreign language without translation. Thiswas the first sign of the learner´s moving away fromcomplete dependence on the counselor. As the learnersgained more and more familiarity with the foreignlanguage, more and more direct communication could takeplace, with the counselor providing less and less directtranslation and information. After many sessions, perhapsmany months or years later, the learner achievedfluency in the spoken language. The learner had becomeindependent at that moment.All threats were supposedly removed in this method. Butthe counselor-teacher could become too nondirective.
It relied too much on the inductive learning strategy.Also, the success of CLL depended mainly on thetranslation expertise of the counselor.Today, CLL is not used exclusively in a curriculum. It wastoo restrictive for institutional language programs.However, the principles of discovery learning, student-centered participation, and student autonomy development(independence) are all viable in application to languageclassrooms.PRACTICE THIS METHOD- MAKE AN EIGHT MINUTEPRESENTATION.
2. SUGGESTOPEDIA:This method derived from Bulgarian Psychologist GeorgiLozanov´s (1979) contention that the human brain couldprocess large amounts of material if given the right conditionsfor learning, including a state of relaxation and giving over ofcontrol to the teacher.Lozanov said that people could learn much more than they gavethemselves credit for. He drew on insights from Sovietpsychological research on extrasensory perception and yoga,and created a method for learning that emphasized relaxedstates of mind for maximum retention of material. Baroquemusic was central to his method with its specific rhythm,creating a “relaxed concentration” that led to“superlearning”. There was an increase in alpha brain wavesand a decrease in blood pressure and pulse rate.
In Suggestopedia applications to foreign language learning,Lozanov experimented with the presentation of vocabulary,readings, dialogs, role-plays, drama, and many other typicalclassroom activities. Much activity was carried out in soft,comfortable seats in relaxed states of consciousness. Studentswere encouraged to be as “childlike” as possible, giving allauthority to the teacher and sometimes assuming the namesand roles of native speakers of the foreign language. In thisway, students became “suggestible.”Suggestopedia was criticized for many reasons. Scovel (1979)showed that Lozanov´s experimental data where he reportedtremendous results were highly questionable. Also, there wasthe question of practicality (comfortable chairs, appropriatemusic).
More serious is the place of memorization in language learning, excluding understanding and/or creative problem solutions. Suggestopedia became a business enterprise of its own and promised things in the advertising world that were not completely supported by research. However, we did learn to believe more in the power of the human mind. PRACTICE IT!3. THE SILENT WAY: Like Suggestopedia, the Silent Way had more cognitive than affective arguments in its theory. It was characterized by a problem-solving approach to learning. 1. Learning is facilitated if the learner discovers or creates rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned.
2. Learning is facilitated by accompanying physical objects.3. Learning is facilitated by problem solving involving thematerial to be learned.“Discovery learning”, a popular educational trend of the 1960s,advocated less learning “by being told” and more learning bydiscovering for oneself various facts and principles. Cognitivecategories were created meaningfully with less chance of rotelearning taking place. Inductive processes were also encouragedmore in discovery-learning methods.Caleb Gattegno, founder of the Silent Way, believed thatlearners should develop independence, autonomy, andresponsibility.
Learners had to cooperate with each other in the process ofsolving language problems. The teacher- a stimulator but nota hand-holder- was silent much of the time. Teachers had toresist the temptation to spell out everything in black and white,to come to the aid of students at the slightest downfall; they hadto “get out of the way” while students worked out solutions.In a classroom, materials such as Cuisenaire rods- small coloredrods of different lengths- and a series of colorful wall charts wereused. The rods were used to introduce vocabulary (colors,numbers, adjectives, verbs, and syntax). The teacher providedsingle-word stimuli, or short phrases and sentences, once ortwice, and then the students refined this among themselves withminimal correction from the teacher.
Like Suggestopedia, the Silent Way had criticism. In onesense, the Silent Way was too harsh a method, the teacher toodistant, to encourage a communicative atmosphere. Studentsoften need more guidance and overt correction than the SilentWay permitted. Some language aspects can be “told” tostudents to their benefit so they do not waste time strugglingfor hours. The rods and charts wear thin after a few lessons,and other materials should be introduced.However, we could all benefit from injecting some discoverylearning into classroom activities and from providing lessteacher talk so students can work things out on their own.CHARACTERISTICS? PRACTICE THIS!
4. TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE (TPR) James Asher (1977), developed Total Physical Response(TPR). Earlier, Gouin with his Series Method, said thatlanguage associated with a series of simple actions would beeasily retained by learners. Later, psychologists developed the“trace theory” of learning where it was claimed that memory isincreased if it is stimulated or “traced” throughassociation with motor activity. For some time, languageteachers have intuitively recognized the value of associatinglanguage with physical activity. So, the basis for TPR was notnew.However, TPR combined other insights as well. Principles of childlanguage acquisition were important. Asher noted that children,in learning their first language, appeared to do a lot oflistening before speaking.
Their listening was accompanied by physical responses(reaching, grabbing, moving, looking, etc.) He also gaveattention to right-brain learning. Asher thought that motoractivity is a right-brain function that should precede left-brainlanguage processing. He was also convinced that languageclasses often produced too much anxiety. The TPR classroomwas where students did a lot of listening and acting. He statedthat “the instructor is the director of a stage play in whichthe students are the actors.”Typically, TPR heavily used the imperative mood, as in Openthe window, Stand up, Sit down, Pick up the book, Give itto John, etc. No verbal response was needed.
More complex syntax could be incorporated into the imperative:Draw a rectangle on the board, Walk quickly to the doorand hit it. Humor is easy to introduce: Walk slowly to thewindow and jump, Put your toothbrush in your book.Interrogatives were also easy: Where is the book? Who isJohn? Eventually, students would feel comfortable enough to tryverbal responses to questions, then to ask questions themselves,and to continue the process.However, TPR had its limitations. It was especially effective onlyin beginning levels. But it appealed to the dramatic or theatricalnature of language learning. At any rate, learners´needs forspontaneity and unrehearsed language must be met.PRACTICE?
5. THE NATURAL APPROACH:Stephen Krashen´s (1982, 1997) theories ofsecond language acquisition have been widelydiscussed and hotly debated over the years.Acting on many claims Asher made for acomprehensive-based approach such as TPR,he and Terrell felt that learners would benefitfrom delaying production until speech “emerges”,that learners should be as relaxed as possible inthe classroom, and that much communication and“acquisition” should occur, as opposed to analysis.In fact, the Natural Approach advocated TPRactivities at the beginning level of languagelearning when “comprehensible input” is essentialfor triggering language acquisition.
Second languages are learned for oralcommunication in some cases; in other cases, forwritten communication; and in still others, for anacademic emphasis on perhaps listening tolectures, or speaking in a classroom context, orwriting a research paper. The Natural Approachwas aimed at the goal of basic personalcommunication skills, that is, everyday languagesituations- conversations, shopping, listening tothe radio, etc.The initial task of the teacher was to providecomprehensible input or spoken languageunderstandable to the learner or just above thelearner´s level. The teacher was the source oflearner input and creator of an interesting,stimulating variety of classroom activities.
In the Natural Approach, learners apparentlymove through three stages, according to Krashenand Terrell, which are: (a) The preproductionstage, which is the development of listeningcomprehension skills. (b) The early productionstage, marked by errors, as the student struggleswith the language. Here, the teacher focuses onmeaning, not on form, so the teacher does notreally correct errors unless they are gross orinterfere with meaning. (c) The last stage extendsproduction into longer stretches of discourse withmore complex games, role-plays, open-endeddialogues, discussions, and extended small-groupwork. As the objective in this stage is to promotefluency, teachers are limited in error-correction.
The most controversial aspects of the NaturalApproach were its advocacy of a “silent period”(delay of oral production) and its heavy emphasison comprehensible input. Oral production delayuntil speech “emerges” has shortcomings. What ifstudent speech does not emerge? Also, regardingcomprehensible input, Langi (1984) stated:How does one know which structures the learnersare to be provided with? …communicationinteractions seem to be guided by the topic ofconversation rather than by the structures of thelanguage. The decision of which structures to useappears to be left to some mysterious sort ofintuition, which many teachers may not possess.
However, through TPR and other forms of input,students´ language egos are not so easilythreatened, and they are not forced intoimmediate risk-taking that could embarrassthem. The resulting self-confidence eventuallycan spur a student to try to speak out.Innovative methods such as these five methodsof the 1970s show us principles and practiceswe can think about and adapt to multiplecontexts. As teachers, we can use an eclecticapproach to choose the best to use in ourclassrooms. Such insights and intuitions canform our own principled approach to languageteaching.
BEYOND METHOD: NOTIONAL-FUNCTIONAL SYLLABUSESNFS began to be used in the UnitedKingdom in the 1970s. Its characteristicswere: its attention to functions as theorganizing elements of English languagecurriculum, and its contrast with astructural syllabus in which sequencedgrammatical structures served asorganizers.As a reaction to grammatical form, the NFSfocused strongly on the pragmatic purposesto which we put language. But it was morespecifically focused on curricular structurethan a true approach would be.
Notions are both general and specific. General notionsare abstract concepts such as existence, space, time,quantity, and quality. Here, we use language toexpress thought and feeling. Specific notions are whatwe call “contexts” or “situations”. Some include travel,personal identification, health, education, shopping andfree time.The “functional” part of the NFS corresponds tolanguage functions. Curricula are organized aroundsuch functions as identifying, reporting, denying,accepting, apologizing, etc.The NFS quickly provided the basis for developingcommunicative textbooks and materials in Englishlanguage courses. The functional basis of languageprograms has continued to today.
For example, in Brown (1999), thefollowing functions are covered in thefirst lessons of an advancedbeginner´s textbook:1. Introducing self and other people2. Exchanging personal information3. Asking how to spell one´s name4. Giving commands5. Apologizing and thanking6. Identifying and describing people7. Asking for information
A typical unit in this textbook includes an eclecticblend of conversation practice with a classmate,interactive group work, role-plays, grammar andpronunciation focus exercises, information-gaptechniques, Internet activities, and extra classinteractive practice.It should be emphasized that the NFS did notnecessarily develop communicative competence inlearners. It was not a method, to specify how youwould teach something. It was a syllabus. While itwas clearly a precursor to CommunicativeLanguage Teaching, as a syllabus, it stillpresented language as an inventory of units-functional rather than grammatical units- but unitsat any rate.
Communicative competence implies a set ofstrategies for getting messages sent and receivedand for negotiating meaning as an interactiveparticipant in discourse, whether spoken orwritten. But the NFS set the stage for bigger andbetter things. By attending to the functionalpurposes of language, and by providingcontextual (notional) settings for the realization ofthose purposes, it provided a link betweenmultiple methods that were dying out and a newera of language teaching.The cycles mentioned lasted about a quarter of acentury or roughly a generation in length. Wecertainly learned something in each generation.
THE PRESENT: AN INFORMED “APPROACH”By the end of the 1980s, the profession hadlearned some profound lessons from the past. Wehad learned to be cautiously eclectic in makingknowledgeable choices solidly grounded in thebest of what we knew about second languagelearning and teaching. We were now able toformulate an integrated approach to language-teaching practices.We really did not need a new method. What weneeded was to unify our approach to languageteaching and designing effective tasks andtechniques informed by that approach.
The identifiable and enterprising methods of thepast are an interesting and insightful contributionto our professional repertoire, but few teacherswould look to any of them as a final answer onhow to teach a foreign language. Method, as aunified, cohesive, finite set of design features, isnow given only minor attention.The profession has reached maturity in that werecognize that the diversity of language learnersin multiple worldwide contexts demands anecelectic blend of tasks, each organized for aparticular group of learners in a particular place,studying for particular purposes in a givenamount of time.
David Nunan (1991) declared thefollowing:“It has been realized that there neverwas and probably never will be amethod for all, and the focus in recentyears has been on the development ofclassroom tasks and activities whichare consonant with what we knowabout second language acquisition,and which are also in keeping withthe dynamics of the classroom itself.”
As teachers, we all have an approach orrationale for organizing classes in particularcontexts. Our approach includes a number ofbasic principles of learning and teaching onwhich we can rely for designing and evaluatingclassroom lessons. Our approach to language-teaching methodology is a theoreticallyinformed global understanding of the process oflearning and teaching. It is inspired by theinterconnection of all our reading and observingand discussing and teaching, and thatinterconnection forms the basis of all that we doin the classroom.It is a dynamic composite of energies within usthat also change with our own experiences inour learning and teaching.
ENGLISH TEACHER QUESTIONS1. Language classes should focus on: a. meaning b. grammar2. Students learn best by using plenty of: a. analysis b. intuition3. It is better for a student to a. think directly in the L2 b. use translation from L14. Language learners need a. immediate rewards b. long-term rewards5. With new language learners, teachers need to be a. tough and demanding b. gentle and empathetic6. A teacher´s feedback to the student should be given a. frequently b. infrequently, so ss will develop autonomy7. A communicative class should give special attention to a. accuracy b. fluency
Could you respond to these items? If you chose(a) or (b), it indicates that you do have someintuitions about teaching, and perhaps thebeginning of an approach.Your approach is guided by a number of factors:your own experience as a learner in classrooms,the teaching experience you may already have,classroom observations you have made, booksyou have read, and previous courses in the field.If you found that in almost every choice youwanted to add something like “but it dependson…,” then you are on the way toward developingan enlightened approach to language learning andteaching.
COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING1940s & 1950s: The English professionbehavioristically programmed a scientifically orderedset of linguistic structures into the minds of learnersthrough conditioning.1960s: There was worry about how Chomsky´sgenerative grammar would fit into languageclassrooms and how to inject the cognitive code of alanguage into the process of absorption.1970s: Innovativeness brought affective factors tothe forefront of experimental language-teachingmethods.
late 1970s-early 1980s: Beginnings of the communicativeapproach.late 1980s-1990s: Development of approaches that highlightedcommunicative properties of language, and classrooms wereincreasingly characterized by authenticity, real-worldsimulation, and meaningful tasks.TODAY:Now we are investigating the nature of social, cultural, andpragmatic features of language beyond grammatical anddiscourse elements in communication. We are exploringpedagogical means for “real-life” communication in theclassroom. We are trying to have learners develop linguisticfluency, and not just accuracy, as in the past.
CLT CHARACTERISTICS1. Classroom goals are focused on all components(grammatical, discourse, functional, and strategic) ofcommunicative competence. Goals must intertwineorganizational aspects of language with the pragmatic.2. Language techniques are designed to engage learners inthe pragmatic, authentic, functional use of languagefor meaningful purposes. Organizational language formsare not the central focus, but rather aspects of languagethat enable the learner to accomplish these purposes.3. Fluency and accuracy are seen as complementaryprinciples underlying communicative techniques. Attimes, fluency may have to take on more importance thanaccuracy in order to keep learners meaningfully engaged inlanguage use.
4. Students in a communicative class ultimately have to usethe language, productively and receptively, in unrehearsedcontexts outside the classroom. Classroom tasks musttherefore equip students with the skills necessary forcommunication in those contexts.5. Students are given opportunities to focus on their ownlearning process through an understanding of their ownstyles of learning and through the development ofappropriate strategies for autonomous learning.6. The role of the teacher is that of facilitator and guide,not an all-knowing bestower of knowledge. Students aretherefore encouraged to construct meaning throughgenuine linguistic interaction with others.
CLT suggests that grammatical structure should exist undervarious functional categories. In CLT, we pay considerablyless attention to the overt presentation and discussion ofgrammatical rules than we traditionally did. Much use ofauthentic language is implied in CLT, as we try to buildfluency. However, fluency should never be encouraged atthe expense of clear, unambiguous, direct communication.Much more spontaneity is present in communicativeclassrooms: students are encouraged to deal withunrehearsed situations under the guidance, but not control,of the teacher.The importance of learners developing a strategic approachto acquisition is a complete reversal of earlier methods thatnever touched the topic of stratgies-based instruction.
Some CLT characteristics can make it difficult for anonnative speaking teacher not very proficient in thesecond language to teach effectively. Dialogues, drills,rehearsed exercises, and discussions (in the first language)of grammatical rules are much simpler for some nonnativespeaking teachers to contend with. However, this shouldnot stop one from pursuing communicative goals in theclassroom. Technology, such as video, television,audiotapes, the Internet, the web, and computersoftware can aid teachers.(Table: A comparison of the Audiolingual Method andCommunicative Language Teaching)
A WORD OF CAUTION ABOUT CLT1. Beware of agreeing with CLT principles (and relatedprinciples like cooperative learning, interactive teaching,learner-centered classes, content-centered education,whole language, etc.) but without grounding your teachingtechniques in such principles. If you believe the termcharacterizes your teaching, make sure you do indeedunderstand and practice your convictions.2. Avoid overdoing certain CLT features: engaging in real-life, authentic language in the classroom, totally excludingany potentially helpful controlled exercises, grammaticalpointers, and other analytical devices; or simulating thereal world but refraining from “interfering” in the ongoingflow of language. A more effective application of CLTprinciples is through a “direct” approach to carefulsequence and structure tasks.
Also, optimal intervention to aid learners in developingstrategies for acquisition should be available.3. Remember that there are numerous interpretations ofCLT. As long as you are aware of many possible versions ofCLT, it remains a term that can continue to capture currentlanguage-teaching approaches.Closely allied to CLT are some concepts that have becomecurrent concerns within a CLT framework. There are sixmain ones.
1. LEARNER-CENTERED INSTRUCTION:This applies to both curricula and specific techniques. It iscontrasted with teacher-centered. It includes:. Techniques that focus on or account for learners´needs,styles, and goals.. Techniques that give some control to the student (groupwork, strategy training, etc.). Curricula that include the consultation and input ofstudents and that do not presuppose objectives in advance.. Techniques that allow for student creativity andinnovation.. Techniques that enhance a student´s sense of competence and self-worth.
2. COOPERATIVE AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING:This is a curriculum that is cooperative and notcompetitive. Students work together in pairs and groups,sharing information and coming to each other´s aid. Theyare a “team” whose players work together to achieve goalssuccessfully.Cooperative learning is not just collaboration. Cooperativelearning “is more structured, more prescriptive to teachersabout classroom techniques, more directive to studentsabout how to work together in groups (than collaborativelearning” (Oxford, 1997).
3. INTERACTIVE LEARNING The interactive nature of communication is at the heart of current theories on communicative competence. Interactive classes will likely be found. Doing a significant amount of pair work and group work.. Receiving authentic language input in real-world contexts.. Producing language for genuine, meaningful communication.. Performing classroom tasks that prepare them for actual language use “out there.”. Practicing oral communication through the give and take and spontaneity of actual conversations.. Writing to and for real audiences, not invented ones.Communicative abilities are enhanced through interaction.
4. WHOLE LANGUAGE EDUCATIONThe term originally comes from emphasizing the“wholeness” of language as opposed to languagefragments. It now describes:. Cooperative learning. Participatory learning. Student-centered learning. Focus on community of learners. Focus on the social nature of language. Use of authentic, natural language. Meaning-centered language. Holistic assessment techniques in testing. Integration of the “four skills”
Edelsky (1993) noted that whole language is “aneducational way of life. (It helps people to) buildmeaningful connections between everyday learning andschool learning.” It is “anchored in a vision of an equitable,democratic, diverse society.” This is a “top-down” conceptof life.
5. CONTENT-BASED INSTRUCTIONAccording to Brinton et al (1989), content-basedinstruction is “the integration of content learning withlanguage teaching aims. More specifically, it refers to theconcurrent study of language and subject matter, with theform and sequence of language presentation dictated bycontent material.”Content-based classrooms may produce an increase inintrinsic motivation and empowerment, since students arefocused on subject matter that is important to their lives.Challenges range from a demand for new books to traininglanguage teachers to teach the concepts and skills ofvarious disciplines, professions, occupations, and/or toteach in teams across disciplines.
6. TASK-BASED INSTRUCTIONPeter Skehan (1998) defines task as an activity in which:. Meaning is primary. There is some communication problem to solve. There is some sort of relationship to comparable real-world activities. Task completion has some priority, and. The assessment of the task is in terms of outcome.A task is really a special form of technique- much larger. Itviews the learning process as a set of communicative tasksdirectly linked to curricular goals.
Task-based instruction within a CLT framework forces us toconsider all classroom techniques in terms of a number ofimportant pedagogical purposes:. Do they ultimately point learners beyond the forms oflanguage alone to real-world contexts?. Do they specifically contribute to communicative goals?. Are their elements carefully designed and not throwntogether haphazardly?. Are their objectives well specified so that you can lateraccurately determine the success of one technique overanother?. Do they engage learners in some form of genuineproblem-solving activity?
TEACHING BY PRINCIPLESThere are 12 main principles of second language learningon which you can base your own teaching. These principleshave to do with an approach to language teaching.1. AUTOMATICITY: Efficient second language learninginvolves a timely movement of the control of a fewlanguage forms into the automatic processing of a relativelyunlimited number of language forms. Overanalyzinglanguage, thinking too much about its forms, andconsciously paying attention to language rules all tend toimpede this graduation to automaticity.We should be more inductive like children in being exposedand experimenting with language.
2. MEANINGFUL LEARNING: Meaningful learning will leadto better long-term retention than rote learning. Appeal tostudents´ interests, academic goals, and career goals.Associate new knowledge with something students alreadyknow. Avoid too much grammar explanation, abstractness,and drilling/memorization.
3. ANTICIPATION OF REWARD: Human beings areuniversally driven to act or “behave,” by the anticipation ofsome sort of reward- tangible or intangible, short term orlong term- that will be a result of the behavior.Provide immediate verbal praise and encouragement as ashort-term reward. Show enthusiasm and excitementyourself in the class. Encorage students to be supportive.Tell students about long-term rewards in learning English.
4. INTRINSIC MOTIVATION: The most powerful rewardsare those that are intrinsically motivated within the learner.Since behavior comes from needs, wants, or desires withinoneself, the behavior itself is self-rewarding. So, noexternally administered reward is necessary.Learners should learn English because it is fun, interesting,useful, or challenging, and not because of anticipating somecognitive or affective rewards from the teacher.
5. STRATEGIC INVESTMENT: Successful mastery of thesecond language is due mainly to a learner´s own personal“investment” of time, effort, and attention to the secondlanguage in the form of an individualized battery ofstrategies for comprehending and producing the language.Visual vs. Auditory preference, Individual vs. Grouppreference, Easy vs. Difficult exercises.
6. LANGUAGE EGO: As human beings learn to use asecond language, they also develop a new mode ofthinking, feeling, and acting- a second identity. The new“language ego,” intertwined with the second language, caneasily create within the learner a sense of fragility, adefensiveness, and a raising of inhibitions.This is the “warm and fuzzy” principle: all second languagelearners need to be treated with affective tender loving care(TLC ?). The confusion of developing a second self in thesecond culture is a normal and natural process. Besupportive!
7. SELF-CONFIDENCE: Learners´belief that they arereally capable of accomplishing a task is at least partially afactor in their eventual success in attaining the task.This is the “I can do it!” principle. At the heart of alllearning is a person´s belief in his or her ability toaccomplish the task. This principle emphasizes thelearner´s self-assessment.Teachers should give a lot of verbal and nonverbalassurances to students. Sequence techniques from easier tomore difficult.
8. RISK-TAKING: Successful language learners, in theirrealistic appraisal of themselves as vulnerable beings yetcapable of accomplishing tasks, must be willing to become“gamblers” in the game of language, to attempt to produceand interpret language that is a bit beyond their absolutecertainty.Create an atmosphere in the classroom that encouragesstudents to try out language, to attempt a response, andnot to wait for someone else to volunteer language.
9. THE LANGUAGE-CULTURE CONNECTION: Wheneveryou teach a language, you also teach a complex system ofcultural customs, values, and ways of thinking, feeling, andacting.Help students to be aware of acculturation and its stages.Stress the importance of the second language as a powerfultool for adjustment in the new culture. Emphasize that noculture is better than another, and that cross-culturalunderstanding is an important part of learning a language.
10. THE NATIVE LANGUAGE EFFECT: The nativelanguage of learners exeerts a strong influence on theacquisition of the target language system. While that nativesystem will exercise both facilitating and interfering effectson the production and comprehension of the new language,the interfering effects are likely to be the most obvious.Thinking directly in the target language usually helps tominimize interference errors. Occasional translation of aword or phrase can be helpful, but direct use of the secondlanguage will help to avoid the first language “crutch”syndrome.
11. INTERLANGUAGE: Second language learners tend togo through a systematic or almost systematicdevelopmental process as they progress to full competencein the target language. Successful interlanguagedevelopment is partially a result of using feedback fromothers.Teachers must develop tolerance when students say “I goto the doctor yesterday”, not making the student feel silly,but rather pointing out the logic of the error. Mistakes arenot “bad”, but are good indicators that some aspects of thenew language are still developing. Encourage them to keepspeaking and developing.
12. COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE: As communicativecompetence is the goal of a language classroom, instructionneeds to point toward all its components: organizational,pragmatic, strategic, and psychomotor.Communicative goals are best achieved by giving dueattention to language use and not just usage, to fluencyand not just accuracy, to authentic language and contexts,and to students´eventual need to apply classroom learningto previously unrehearsed contexts in the real world.
Make sure to keep every technique that you use asauthentic as possible: use language that students willactually encounter in the real world, and provide genuine,not rote, techniques for the actual conveyance ofinformation of interest.Some say, your students will no longer be in yourclassroom. Be sure that you are preparing them to beindependent learners and manipulators of language “outthere.”
HOWARD GARDNER´S MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCESIt is important to consider the fact that traditionalconceptualizations of intelligence (linguistic and logical-mathematical problem solving) have been extended inrecent times to five and six “frames of mind” for analyzingand applying models of intelligence:1. linguistic intelligence2. logical-mathematical intelligence3. spatial intelligence4. musical intelligence5. bodily-kinesthetic intelligence6. interpersonal intelligence7. intrapersonal intelligence8. nature intelligence
THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCESThe theory was proposed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner as a model of intelligence to differentiate intelligence into various specific modalities, rather than as a single general ability. They are: 1. Logical-mathematical: logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers, investigation. Scientists, mathematicians, researchers. 2. Spatial: spatial judgment and visualization. Artists, designers and architects.
3. Verbal-linguistic: words and languages. Good atreading, telling stories, writing, memorizing wordswith dates. Teachers, actors, writers, translators.4. Bodily-kinesthetic: bodily motion, handlingobjects, sense of timing. Athletes, pilots, dancers,musicians, actors, builders, police officers, soldiers.5. Musical: sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones,and music. Singers, instrumentalists, conductors,disk jockeys, orators, writers, composers.
6. Interpersonal: interaction with others, extroverts, sensitivity to others´moods, feelings, cooperative, communicative. Leaders or followers. Sales, politicians, managers, teachers, social workers.7. Intrapersonal: introspective, self-reflective capacities. Philosophical and critical thinking. Authors, psychologists, counselors, philosphers, clergy.8. Naturalistic: relating information to natural surroundings. Animal and plant species, farming, miming. Naturalists, gardeners, farmers.
9. Existential: Gardner uncommitted, but spirtual/religious intelligence was proposed. The infinite. Shamans, priests, mathematicians, physicists, scientists, cosmologists, philosophers.
These new conceptualizations of intelligence infused thedecade of the 1990s with a sense of both freedom andresponsibility in using whole language skills, learningprocesses, and the ability to negotiate meaning. This pointshould be taken into consideration as well when designingtests for the English class.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR MOTIVATING LEARNERS1. Set a personal example with your own behavior.2. Create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere in the classroom.3. Present the tasks properly.4. Develop a good relationship with the learners.5. Increase the learners´linguistic self-confidence.6. Make the language classes interesting.7. Promote learner autonomy.8. Personalize the learning process.9. Increase the learners´goal-orientedness.10. Familiarize learners with the target language culture.
CLT – Some ApplicationsLITERATURE IN THE CLASSROOM-. Literature offers important written material about basic human issues which last forever. It is authentic and genuine material. Writers like Shakespeare transcend both time and culture to speak directly to a reader in another country or period of history.. Literature is a valuable complement to EFL texts after the “survival” level has been passed. Here, readers have to handle language intended for native speakers and gain more familiarity with many different linguistic uses, forms and conventions of writing: irony, exposition, argument, narration, etc.. If students cannot travel or live in an English-speaking country, they can at least have a virtual life experience using their imagination for cultural enrichment.
. Literature can be helpful in the language learning process because of the personal involvement it develops in readers.. Learners shift their attention beyond the more mechanical aspects of the foreign language system. When a short story, novel or play is explored over a period of time, the reader starts to “inhabit” the text. The reader is completely involved and wants to know what happens to the characters or plot of the story. He may identify with certain characters and shares their emotional responses.. This has beneficial effects upon the whole language learning process as long as the experience is interesting, varied and non-directive for the reader.
LITERATURE SUITABLE FOR LANGUAGE LEARNERS?. This depends on the learners´interests, needs, cultural background and language level. It should arouse interest and provoke strong, positive reactions from them. It must be meaningful, enjoyable and relevant to their life experiences, emotions, or dreams.. Some incentives include: enjoyment; suspense; a fresh insight into emotional issues; encountering one´s own thoughts or situations expressed vividly in a work of art; encountering those same thoughts or situations illuminated by a completely new, unexpected light or perspective.
. It must be emphasized as well that literature use is a complement to the aim of promoting the learner´s communicative competence.. Role play, improvisation, creative writing, discussions, questionnaires, visuals and other activities can avoid tedium in the classroom. This makes literature come alive, for learning is promoted by involving as many of the students´faculties as possible.. The overall aim then of an approach to teaching literature is to let students achieve the benefits of communicative and other activities for language improvement within the context of suitable works of literature.
. For students about to explore the unknown territory of a new literary work, their first encounter may be crucial. The teacher must play up the sense of adventure with a suppotive, reassuring atmosphere. This is why we should spend extra time on orientation and warm-up sessions.. A warm-up can provide setting the mood, creating interest, or sparking curiosity. Sometimes the presentation of a particularly significant passage stimulated the learners´appetites. As well, the teacher can concentrate on presenting the title and cover design, imagining with them they are in a specific scene, visual prompts, discussing the theme, analyzing key words or sentences, discussing the author´s biography and character.
. Animal Farm:IListen to John interviewing Mary about the animal characters in this short novel. Try to fill in as many details as possible.Kind of Animal Name What do we know about it?IIAfter the interview, try to complete the following sentences so that they tell the story of what happens in Animal Farm.“Once upon a time there were some animals that decided to revolt against their human masters. They were led by the cleverest animals………….. They succeeded in taking over the farm and running it. Their first leader was……. He wanted………. But then a more powerful animal called……took his place as leader. His motto was………
Other Techniques- Choose predictions; seal time capsules; write beginnings; write alternative endings; write Chapter 0; write questions after each chapter for reading comprehension;make editorial suggestions; make home reading worksheets; make value judgment worksheets; choose a moral; make vocabulary dictionaries; make graphic representations of the story; retell the story; radio dramas; newspaper articles; book reports; mini-readings; “fly on the wall”; etc.
LORD OF THE FLIES:Worksheets- I. Read pages 7-18 of Lord of the Flies. Write brief notes in each box as appropriate. Piggy RalphPersonalityAppearanceAttitude towards islandAttitude to other boyInformation about parents
. Memory Exercise-Which boy said the following?: Piggy Ralph1.“And this is what the tube done.”2.”Sucks to your auntie.”3.”You can´t half swim well.”4. “So long as you don´t tell the others.”5.”He´s a commander in the Navy.”6.”We may stay here till we die.”7.“Get my clothes.”8.”Gosh.”
What could I kill?Look at the creatures listed below. If you think you could kill any of them, put a tick in the first column. In the second column, explain circumstances in which you would do so, for example “if starving”, “in self-defence”, etc.Creature Yes? Circumstances?AntFrogHenCatSnakePigHorseHuman
Simple Language WorkIt is possible to use the text of a novel to practise specific areas of language, but briefly, in order to maintain the “magic” of the narrative and reader´s immersion in the fantasy.Preposition Work: Fill in the blanks with one appropriate word.1. We´re …..an unihabited island.2. He slammed the knife …..a trunk.3. He gaped…..them for a moment.4. Jack snatched the glasses ….his face.5. There hasn´t been the trace….a ship.
Phrasal Verbs: Fill in the blanks with one appropriate word.1. The shouting died……2. He sighed, bent and laced…..his shoes.3. We shall have to look……ourselves.4. He cleared his throat and went……5. I´ll split…….the choir- my hunters, that is-into groups.Letter in a bottle: The teacher writes the names of the characters on pieces of paper for each student to select. Then each writes a letter home.
Some Recommended Books for the EFL Classroom (see Literature in the Classroom. Joanne Collie and Stephen Slater. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2004)Fitzgerald, F. Scott (1950) The Great Gatsby, Penguin Books.Fowles, J. (1976) The Collector, Panther Books.Golding, W. (1958, reprinted 1983) Lord of the Flies, Faber & Faber.Highsmith, P. (1976) The Talented Mr. Ripley, Penguin Books.Huxley, A. (1955) Brave New World, Penguin Books.Orwell, G. (1969) Animal Farm, Penguin Books.Orwell, G. (1970) Nineteen Eighty-Four, Penguin Books.Shaw, G.B. (1969) Pygmalion, Penguin Books.Stevenson, R.L. Treasure Island, Penguin Books.Williams, T. (1968) The Glass Menagerie, Penguin Plays.
ASSIGNMENT: Find an appropriate text to share with the class at a specific learning level and explain how you would interest students to read and apply the content for classroom activity. Show us a mini class of some 10 minutes.
DRAMA IN THE EFL CLASSROOMOne of the most important ideas to come along recentlyregarding the teaching and learning of EFL is the use ofdrama and drama techniquesin the classroom forstudents to express themselves, applying everything theyhave learned through involvement in oral skills, reading,writing, and grammar structures. Speaking out loud in aplay has to do with communication, for that is exactlywhat a play is all about.According to Whiteson and Horovitz, “If the texts are read or performed in class, students pick up appropriate expressions and pay attention to pronunciation and body language. Teachers have found out that acting out plays or skits is an ideal way to
create cohesion and cooperation in a group. Students areinvolved and motivated because they are learning byparticipating. In addition, by dealing with real issues in theirlives, plays encourage students to become emotionally andintellectually engaged on a deeper level. Ideally, students will sharetheir own experiences and learn to empathize with others.”Please remember: Drama is not a language learning theory. Itis a technique for developing and deepening in languageskills. Unfortunately, many teachers are afraid of using it, as itseems to confront them with the danger of losing control ofthe class, showing their lack of expertise in directing it, and inforcing them to be more extroverted.
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCESLinguistic- Logical/Mathematical- Spatial- Musical-Bodily/Kinesthetic- Interpersonal- Intrapersonal- Nature-Emotional- (Spiritual?): Almost all intelligences are addressedthrough Drama!!! “All the world is a stage and all women and men players in it.”Note: The drama referred to here for classroom use should be either excerpts from works or one-act plays. This is due not only to the short amount of time available in class, but also because EFL students need time to read, comprehend, interpret, and relay the content to others. Also, we must remember that classroom drama exists for learners, more than just for an audience.
Drama is related to Communicative Language Teaching.CLT emphasizes that students are active participantsand not passive receivers in communication activities.A few years ago at the University of California, a studywas conducted in which students were taken fromclasses where their teachers had used dramatechniques to teach them English. Conclusion:“The study returned the positive conclusion that dramaencourages the operation of certain psychological factors inthe participant which improve communication: heightenedself-esteem, motivation and spontaneity, increased capacityfor empathy and lowered sensitivity to rejection.”
As a result, Professor Maley stated the following conclusionsabout the benefits of using drama in teaching language:“the acquisition of meaningful, fluent interaction in the targetlanguage; the assimilation of a whole range of pronunciationand prosodic features in a fully contextualized andinteractional manner; the fully contextualized acquisition ofnew vocabulary and structure; an improved sense ofconfidence in the student in his or her ability to learn thetarget language.”
Professor Dorothy Heathcote has pointed out the following:“We need to train our teachers to structure for a learningsituation to happen rather than a sharing of information in a“final” way to take place. We have to train them to withholdtheir expertise, to give their students opportunities forstruggling with problems…”Drama teacher Keith Johnstone once said:“As I grew up, everything started getting grey and dull. Icould still remember the amazing intensity of the world I´dlived in as a child, but I thought the dulling of perception wasan inevitable consequence of age - just as the lens of the eyeis bound gradually to dim. I didn´t understand that clarity
is in the mind. I´ve since found tricks that can make theworld blaze up again in about fifteen seconds, and the effectlast for hours.”As teachers, we have to find those “tricks” to make ourstudents and us “blaze up” creatively and enthusiastically tobe and do all we want to be and do.TEACHING SUGGESTIONS:The “talk and listen” approach:
In “talk and listen”, actors concentrate on one another, usingmovement, props, and costumes. A second approach involvesnoncostumed “readers” standing up, holding their scripts, andfocusing on an audience. A combination of the two approachescould be another idea.The student does not actually read his line to another, as all ofus read quite differently from how we speak. The student isfree to refer to his script as often as needed, and can break itup into chunks, if so desired. The second time he should dobetter and will start uniting words together. Eventually, he willnot even need to look at the script.
It is not necessary for students to memorize lines, asmemorization does not sound like “real” communication. Withtime, one can look at the beginning of a line and know what itis about. The play, then, is learned as conversation. If astudent memorizes his part, it will probably not have anymeaning for anyone.The second approach, or “Readers Theatre”, is also a valuableexperience for students to handle.READERS THEATRE: An IntroductionLeslie Irene Coger and Melvin R. White
Echo for Three Voices: Readers Theatre…ReadersTheatre…Readers Theatre…Voice One: What is it?Voices One and Two: It is theatre:Voice Three: Theatre with a script.Voice One: Theatre of the Mind,Voice Two: Creating with wordsVoice Three: People who are alive,Voice One: Who think and feel,Voice Two: Who know the enjoyment of life.Voice Three: Fun!Voice One: Excitement!Voice Two: Entertainment!
Voice Three: Magic!All Voices (after a pause): Presenting with our voices…Voice One: A realistic impression,Voice Two: A mental picture,All Voices: To occur in your minds.Echo for Three Voices: Readers Theatre…ReadersTheatre…Readers Theatre…Voice One: A vocal message,Voice Two: A mental vision,Voice Three: People living events of sadness,Voice One: Happiness,Voice Two: And love,Voice Three: Writers…
Voice One: Telling the human story,Voice Two: Satirizing people´s weaknesses…Voice One: Relating their biases,Voice Three: Creating worlds of fantasy,Voice Two: And telling the humor of being human.All Voices: Birth..Life…Death…Readers Theatre!Voice Two: An intimate sharing of literatureVoice Three: Between an audience and the readers.All Voices: Readers Theatre!Readers Theatre is defined as a “happening” or “experience”.
Drama Games:Drama games have action, exercise the imagination, involveboth acquisition and learning, and allow for linguistic andparalinguistic expression of emotion. They are short,from tento fifteen minutes, and can be used as icebreakers, as partsof lessons, or for ending lessons. They are enjoyable, creatingwarm-up learning readiness, lesson reinforcement, and wrap-ups.Example 1: Every Picture Tells a Story- Make a collection of pictures with people doing different activities. Divide the students into groups and give each group a picture. They have to devise a one-minute drama which will end with the group in the positions suggested by their picture.
Each group presents its drama to the class and when theteacher has shown the relevant picture to the class, theydecide whether the group has successfully copied it.Example 2: Who am I? You will need slips of paper, one for each member of the class, each one bearing the name of a famous person. Pin the name of a famous person on the back of each student. They then pair off and help each other to identify their characters. Student A asks questions such as Am I alive or dead? Male or female? Young or old? Am i from Africa, Asia, Europe or America? Am I a politician? A film star? A singer? If I am dead, how did I die? How old was I? What am I most famous for? etc.
Student B responds to the questions, but should try not to betoo explicit. If students find that they cannot help each other,They should move on to the next one, or to someone who canhelp them.Conclusion: Drama and drama techniques represent a powerful tool in the EFL classroom for students to practice effective and emphatic oral skills, especially pronunciation, understand the meaning behind important literature, and act out short plays or scenes for their own, as well as an audience´s, enjoyment. Drama is highly recommended for students and teachers to put into practice for the mutual benefit of all involved in the EFL learning experience!
ASSIGNMENT: Put together a 10 to 15 drama presentation for a specific learning level.
INTERNET IN THE CLASSROOMThe Internet provides a wealth of resources and informationthat make teaching exciting and new. Some of the “gold” youcan find on the Internet include:lesson plans – virtual field trips – simulations – facts, figures,and formulas – exhibits – experiments – maps – seminars forprofessional development – songs and stories – tutorials –puzzles - book reviews – historical archives – authors –science fair projects – collaborative projectsThe Internet is also an ideal mechanism for encouragingstudents to assume responsibility for their own learning.
As students find different learning resources on the Internet,they become active participants in their quest for knowledge.Incorporating the Internet into your classroom providesstudents with more opportunities to structure their ownlearning. Students are able to define their learning needs,find information, assess its value, build their own knowledgebase, and communicate their discoveries.However, before beginning to use the Internet in yourclassroom, students need to have the foundation of two mainsets of skills to help them navigate the Internet and thenmanage the large amounts of information they find.
Internet Navigation SkillsIt helps in introducing the Internet to your students tofamiliarize them with common terms. You may want to usethe Internet Glossary to help define terms.Explain to students that the Internet is an amazing system ofcomputers that provides people with incredible amounts ofinformation. In order to make sense of all this information,search engines were created to help people find what theywere looking for in a more efficient way. However, the veryact of searching the Internet can be overwhelming.
Tips:1. Use the word AND when you want information about two or more key words together. eg. dolphins and whales2. Use the word NOT when you want information about one key word but no information about the other. Eg. art NOT painting; entertainment parks NOT Disney3. Use quotation marks ariund the names of of people, places, or a phrase. This makes sure that the words appear right next to each other in the WEB site. eg. “multiple intelligence theory” “President Lincoln”4. To find a picture of something, type in image:
eg. image: dog; image: Bon JoviIt is important to discuss what types of key words studentsneed to type in to find the correct information. The morespecific the key word, the more specific the returnedinformation will be. Although this seems basic, some studentsneed to see examples of key words in searches.Information Literacy SkillsIt is critical that students learn to find, analyze and use theinformation available. Information literacy skills entail complexthinking and reasoning. This needs practice and morepractice.
1. Know when there is a need for information2. Find and identify information needed3. Analyze the information found4. Organize the information5. Use information effectively to address the task or problem6. Communicate information and evaluate resultsDevelop Internet-Safe Lessons1. Never start lessons by having students only use search engines.2. Require students to find very specific information,
not just surf.3. Always require students to write down the addresses of the sites they use for reports in a bibliography format to avoid plagiarism.4. Don´t send the entire class to the same site at the same time.5. When possible, try to preview sites before students visit them. This is not crucial when using Scholastic.com since sites have been previewed by teachers already, but it does become more important if students are using other search engines on the Internet.
What can the Internet do for my classroom?The Internet is not an approach to education, but rather a toolthat can be used with almost any educational theory. It makesadditional information resources available, it enhancesdynamic communication, and it makes collaboration easier byreducing the need for collaborators to be in the same place atthe same time.An example of the dynamic nature of the Net can be seen at: The Global School House http://www.gsh.org/The Global School House provides research, lessons, and projects for teachers, as well as a way to discuss them http://www.gsh.org/lists/index/.html Students can participate in a number of projects where they can interact with experts and students from around the world
http://www.gsh.org/pr/These resources are effective because they are dynamic. It isteacher and student questioning and interaction that guidesthe project.How can I best use the Internet in my classroom?To help simplify how you can use the Net in your classroom,this section will focus on three processes that commonly takeplace in classrooms: communication and collaboration,research, and publication.
Communication and CollaborationThere are some sites on the Web that are specifically created to help expand communication among teachers and students.For example:Teachers Net: http://teachers.net/This provides a forum for teachers to discuss a broad range oftopics that relate to classroom teaching. There are resourcesavailable to support teachers.The Net also provides a great opportunity for students tointeract with each other, and to collaborate on projects.Some examples of student collaboration can be seen at:
The Journey North Project: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/This project coordinates over 4000 schools that shareinformation and research on global wildlife migration.The GLOBE: http://www.globe.govThe GLOBE is an online environment where over 7000 schoolsworldwide work with researchers, teachers, and otherstudents to develop an understanding of the globalenvironment.ResearchHere the Net offers students a teachers a new way toapproach information and materials. The Metropolitan Museum ofArt: http:// www.metmuseum.org/education/er_online_resourc.asp
Here there is a wide range of information online as well as anindexed collection of online museum and library links.On-line simulations:The Visible Human Project: http://www.nim.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.htmlThis provides teachers and students with a digital-image dataset of a complete male and female cadaver in MRI (magneticresonance imaging) and anatomical modes available online.PublicationThe opportunity to create a Web site and make one´s ideaspublic is very attractive for many students. In Web design, manytalents emerge such as graphic-design, musical and computing skills.
When students are excited about learning and expressing theirideas, their performance almost always improves. Sincepublication of student material online provides a much largeraudience, students take care to do their very best.Conclusion: It is important to remember the educationalobjective you want to achieve with your students. The Net canbroaden students´access to information, increase theircommunication with others, and provide a powerful mediumfor publishing work. The objective of, say, an English lessonis not how to use the Net, it is to understand English, but theNet is a powerful tool that students and teachers can use tohelp that understanding.
Some Internet sites for English:http://www.internet4classrooms.com/lang_gen. htmhttp://www.aspa.asn.au/Projects/english/txrp.htmhttp://www.cln.org/integrating.htmlhttp://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4409http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/classroominternet/index_sub3.html
ASSIGNMENT: In 10 to 15 minutes each, teach us aclass using Internet resources at a specific Englishlevel.